Granholm Recognizes October As National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Contact: T.J. Bucholz (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

October 2, 2007

Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm is again recognizing October as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, increasing public knowledge about the importance of early detection of breast cancer.

Breast cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in Michigan. In 2007, the American Cancer Society estimates that 5,900 Michigan women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 1,320 women will die of the disease.

"Breast cancer is most treatable when detected at an early stage," said Janet Olszewski, Director of the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH). "The key to early detection is routine mammography screenings - being tested just once is never enough."

The Michigan Cancer Consortium recommends annual breast cancer screening - including a clinical breast exam and mammogram - for women of average risk starting at age 40.

Although every woman is at risk of developing breast cancer, several factors have been shown to increase the risk:

- Increasing age

- A personal history of breast cancer

- A family history of breast or ovarian cancer (especially pre-menopausal onset) in a mother, a sister, a daughter, or other multiple relatives.

- Never giving birth or having a first child after the age of 30

- Long menstrual history

Other possible risk factors include:

- Long term use of hormonal replacement therapy

- Obesity - Low physical activity

- Alcohol consumption

Developed by the American Cancer Society, the guide is designed as a complete and unbiased source of information on mammography facilities in Michigan. The guide compares services, price, and other important information to help women choose the mammography facility best suited for them.

If you cannot afford a mammogram, you may qualify for the Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program (BCCCP). The BCCCP provides free breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services to women who meet the following eligibility criteria:

- Have an income < 250% of the federal poverty level (e.g., a family of four can earn up to $51,625 per year)

- Be uninsured or underinsured

- Be age 40-64 for breast/cervical cancer screening and for diagnostic follow-up of breast/cervical abnormalities

Women who are diagnosed with breast cancer through BCCCP may be eligible to receive Medicaid for cancer treatment. Since the program began in 1991, over 122,000 women have been screened through the BCCCP with nearly 2,200 breast cancers diagnosed.

For more information on BCCCP, please call 800-922-6266 or visit www.michigancancer.org/bcccp.